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Powerful Blasts Near Damascus Airport Likely Result of Israeli Strikes | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Smoke at the Mezzah military airport on the southwestern outskirts of the capital Damascus following an explosion early on January 13, 2017. Photo: AFP

Several Israeli missiles hit a position for Syrian forces southwest of Damascus airport at dawn on Thursday, Syrian regime media said, as the force of the blasts shook the capital.

“A military position southwest of Damascus International Airport was targeted at dawn today by an Israeli aggression using several missiles fired from occupied territory, sparking explosions in the area,” the regime media, citing a military source, said.

There were some material losses, it said.

Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television said the raid hit a warehouse and fuel tanks, without specifying whether they were its own or belonged to the Syrian forces or another of its allies.

It said the explosion was probably the result of an Israeli strike.

Syrian rebel and regional sources said Israel struck an arms supply hub operated by “Hezbollah” near Damascus airport, targeting weapons regularly sent from Iran via commercial and military cargo planes.

Video carried on Lebanese TV and shared on social media sites showed the pre-dawn airstrikes caused a fire around the airport, suggesting fuel sources or weapons containing explosives were hit.

Israel does not usually comment on any action it takes in Syria or the wider region. But Intelligence Minister Israel Katz, speaking to Army Radio from the United States, appeared to confirm Israel’s involvement.

“The incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel’s policy to act to prevent Iran’s smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah,” he said.

“The prime minister has said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicated an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act.”

Israeli warplanes have hit the airport and other bases around the capital in the past, targeting what it said were weapons stockpiles destined for Hezbollah.

The airport lies about 25 kilometers southeast of the city center.

It was hit by Israeli air strikes in December 2014, Syrian regime media reported at the time.